Where Should Product Management Live?

Where Should Product Management Live?

产品管理归于何处?

The single most frequent question I get from product leaders in companies both large and small, is where should product management live? The choices are most often engineering or marketing. While if you have the right personalities, it can work in either place, I am actually not a fan of it residing in either.

无论大公司还是小公司,我从产品领导者那里经常得到一个问题,就是产品管理应该归于何处?最常见的答案是应该属于技术或者营销。如果你有良好的个人素质,这两份工作可以任取其一。我并不是让你非要选择这两者中的一个,这两者之间也不存在隶属关系。

In this note I am like to lay out the considerations and my views on where product management should live organizationally.

在这篇文章中,我将就产品管理应该处于组织中的何处阐述我的观点。

The most common situation I find is that product management lives within the marketing organization. The problem with this organizational design is based on the misconception that you get products from talking to your customers, and that it is marketing’s job to talk to customers. I won’t repeat all my arguments here, but suffice it to say that there are several key reasons why you won’t find successful products just by asking your customers, and further, what usually happens is that the product marketing role and the product management role get combined. These roles and the skills required are so different that what usually ends up happening is that one or the other (or both) gets poorly executed.

我发现最普遍的情况是产品管理处于营销组织之内。这种组织设计的问题在于你认为你要做的产品来源于和你的客户交流这样一个误解,而同客户交流就是营销的工作。这里我不会重复我所有的观点,但是只要说明为什么仅仅通过询问你的客户你是发现不了成功的产品的几个关键原因就可以,进一步说,也就是产品市场营销的职责和产品管理的职责都在哪些方面产生了结合。它们所需的职责和技能有着很大的不同,最后的情形是一个或者另一个(或者两者皆有)没有得到很好的执行。

The next most common situation is that product management is put in the engineering organization. While this has the benefit of putting the people that invent and design the product next to the people that actually build the product, this can also be problematic because engineering organizations are really designed to focus on building a product right, rather than building the right product. It takes a different mindset and different skills to come up with the right product to build. Moreover, it is easy for the product management team to be consumed in the details and pressures of producing the detailed specs rather than looking at the market opportunity and charting a winning product strategy and roadmap.

另一个常见的情况是产品管理被归到了工程技术组织中。虽然这有益于创造和设计产品的人能够和实际构建产品的人紧密合作,但是这也可能会有问题,因为这样设计的工程技术组织真正的焦点是在正确地构建产品,而不是构建正确的产品上。提出正确的产品去构建需要不同的理念和技能。而且,对于产品管理团队来说,花精力在细节上和努力使自己制定详细的规格要比找到市场机会和制定一个取得胜利的产品战略和路线更为容易。

So if not the marketing organization, and if not the engineering organization, then where?

因此,如果它不在营销组织,也不在工程技术组织中,那它应该归于何处呢?

I am a believer in raising the level of the product organization to be on par with engineering and marketing. Ideally, the product organization includes the design team, because the interaction between product management and design needs to be absolutely as close as possible.  Increasingly, you will see an organization with the name of product or product Management or product Management and Design and often with a VP of Product or even a Chief Product Officer running it.

我认为应该把产品组织的地位提升到和工程技术和营销组织一样。理论上来说,产品组织包括设计团队,因为在产品经理和设计之间的交互需要尽可能的紧密。你会越来越多地看到用产品或者产品管理,或者产品管理和设计命名的组织,经常是产品副总或者CPO在运作它。

There are several benefits to this organizational design, but the biggest reason is that I believe that the head of product needs to have a seat at the table on the executive team. Companies are all about products, and marketing and engineering each have other considerations that typically supercede product. Additionally, this organizational structure makes it clear that the product is not being driven by the technology, and not being driven solely by the sales or marketing needs either.

这种组织设计有几个好处,但是最大的原因还是因为我相信这个产品的领导需要在执行团队里有一席之地。公司就是产品、营销和技术,each have other considerations that typically supercede product.此外,这种组织结构也会使产品不再受技术驱动,不再被销售或者营销需要所驱动而变的更清晰。

One special case exists in many larger companies. Often large companies have a centralized engineering function and decentralized business units. This lets the company focus on multiple business lines, while potentially enjoying efficiencies in common engineering services. In such organizations, the product management and design function might be located in the centralized engineering/product development organization, or it might be in its own organization, or it might be a part of the business units themselves. Often in such an organization, the business unit managers must play a major product management role, so it can create problems if the product management team isn’t part of the business unit. In these situations, I usually prefer integrating product management and design into the business units.

在许多大公司都存在一种特例。通常大公司有一个集中的技术功能和分散的业务单元。这使得公司把焦点放在多商业线上,虽然可以在通常的技术服务中潜在感受到效率。在这样的组织中,产品管理和设计的功能应该定位在集中的技术/产品开发组织中,或者是自己的组织,或者应该成为业务单位本身的一个部分。通常在这样的组织中,业务单位的管理者必须担负起一个主要产品管理的职责,因此,如果产品管理团队不是业务单位的一个组成部分,那么,就可能出现问题。在这种情况下,我通常更愿意把产品管理和设计集成到业务单元中。

While I have explained my reasons for the ideal locations, it can be very hard to implement organizational design change, and your company may not be willing or able to go this route.  This does not necessarily mean that you are destined for problems. It still boils down to the people involved and the skills they bring. If you can develop your product team’s skills and demonstrate their value across the company, any of these organizational structures will succeed.

虽然我已经解释了这个理想定位的原因,但是对于实施这种组织改变可能是很困难的,并且你的公司也不会或者不能这样去做。但这并不意味着你注定要面对这些问题。它依然归结为所涉及到的人和他们带来的技能。如果你能提高你的产品团队的技能和证明在公司中的价值,那么其中的任何一种组织性构都将是成功的。

As a Product Manager at eBay, you are responsible for planning and executing onsite features that enable the success of eBay. You have the responsibility for ensuring eBay.com is the easiest and preferred place to buy and sell online. You will define product requirements for site features including writing PRDs and working cross functionally with the product development, QA, and project management teams to bring features live to the site. Analyze the external marketplace, customers, and competitors to determine the right feature set for buyers and sellers. Understand and evangelize the needs of the eBay community. Manage these factors across the lifetime of a feature or product.

作为一名eBay的产品经理,你的职责就是规划和执行能够使eBay成功的onsite features。你的职责还有还要确保对于在线的买卖双方来说都是最方便和首选的地方。你要为基于网站特点定义产品需求,包括撰写PRD以及同产品开发、QA和项目管理团队的跨职能工作,从而让产品特征和网站相符。还要分析外部市场、客户和竞争对手去为买卖双方确定正确的产品特征。了解和像传道士一样传递eBay社区的需要。在整个生命周期管理一个feature或者产品的元素。

As a PayPal Product Manager, you will be responsible for all aspects of managing a PayPal payments product or service through all phases of the product lifecycle. From understanding market needs, to defining product strategy and detailed product requirements, to managing product launches and owning the product P&L post-launch, you will have accountability for all aspects of product and its success.

作为一个PayPal的产品经理,你的职责就是在整个产品生命周期的所有阶段管理PayPal支付产品或者服务的方方面面。从知道市场需求,到定义产品战略和详尽的产品需求,到管理产品发布和负责产品发布后的产品生命周期,你将负责产品的方方面面和它的成功。

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